Do not fear anything, Bishop Tengatenga

Christians of the Anglican Communion have been dared to offer a special gift to the country during this festive period as one way of depicting their responsibility.

Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi, the Right Reverend Dr. James Tengatenga, made the call at Chilomoni Anglican Parish when he conducted a Confirmation Sacrament to 41 Christians.

Bishop Tengatenga urged Christians to go for HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) to give God and the nation a special Christmas and New Year’s gift explaining that the country cannot combat the pandemic if people shun HTC.

Bishop James Tengatenga of Southern Malawi. Photo credit: George Conger

“Follow the footsteps of Jesus Christ, the one we celebrate His birthday every 25th December. He offered His whole just to save us without regard to what people would talk of Him. Why are we afraid of what people will talk of us after going for HTC then?

“He did not only lose blood but life too. So why can we not go for HTC ourselves to save the country from this pandemic. You will only lose a drop of blood during the testing but that will be a service to the nation because upon knowing your status you will know what is of you and how to take good care of yourself,” narrated Bishop Tengatenga.

Responsibility

The Bishop surprised the Christians during his best wishes message when he asked the congregation to raise their hands if they knew their status.

“As time ticks to close the year 2011 I encourage you to go for HTC because that’s the first step in conquering this catastrophe,” he advised the congregation after noting that only about one percent of the flock raised their hands.

The man of God had no kind words for those who stigmise HIV/AIDS patients arguing there is no fun in any disease or suffering and those who do so were “useless” and their actions cannot be condoned.

“HIV/AIDS is a killer disease but there are other diseases that kill too. Statistics show that Malaria is a major killer. And there are other diseases such as HBP and diabetes that people voluntarily go for testing, why not HIV,” queried Bishop Tengatenga.

He added: “When tested positive, patients of such diseases accept and take drugs normally and without any remorse and yet if you fail to take the medication as advised by the doctors, you, just as the one taking ARVs, can die.

“We should be open minded and reach a point whereby every person will be free to declare his or her status and take drugs without any fear,” advised the Bishop.

Commenting on the issue, Edward Zadi, a Blantyre based social and development commentator congratulated the Anglican Bishop for guiding his flock on the thorny issue that most spiritual leaders feign ignorance of.

“As leader of the Church he also has the duty and responsibility of teaching his flock on moral issues. Here one would see that the stand of the Anglican Church in the country is that people are free to go for HIV/AIDS testing and even let the world know of their status without the fear of being excommunicated from the Church which I find encouraging and giving hope,” observed Zadi.

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